On a list of things I enjoy, leeks served with a cheese sauce would come high on the list. Sadly, no everyone in my life feels this way. When I suggested this for dinner last friday, my boyfriend opened the phone book and started looking for the number of the local fish and chip shop. Luckily I am patient, and I waited until the next night when he was out to eat the leeks.
In terms of winter comfort food, this is very difficult to beat. The cheese sauce is creamy, smooth and extremely satisfying. However, unlike macaroni cheese, it is not stodgy and heavy. Because the cheese sauce is paired with a vegetable, rather than a carb, it stays relatively light. Unlike cauliflower cheese (a dish I loath, and think should not exist), the leeks are flavoursome, and enhance the cheese rather than using the sauce to mask them. This is also very quick, and easily makes a single portion, or a number.
Leek with Cheese Sauce (serves one)
Half a large leek, roughly sliced
A knob of butter, about one tablespoon
One tablespoon of white flour
Half a cup of milk
Half a cup of grated cheese
Heat a pot of water with a steamer over it. When the water is boiling, place the leek in the steamer and cook until soft but still firm and squeaky (if you don’t have a steamer, boiling is fine).
While the leek cooks, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, and then mix the flour with the melted butter to make a paste. Add the milk in small amounts, stirring between each addition and ensuring the sauce is smooth before adding more milk. Taking it slowly at this stage will prevent any lumps forming. When add the milk is added and the sauce is smooth, add the cheese and stir until it melt. Taste, and add more cheese if necessary.
Serve hot with the cheese sauce poured over the leek. For a more substantial meal, this pairs very nicely with some lightly peppered couscous.